Is Chocolate a Fruit or Vegetable? Let’s have a look at some of the facts that will help you clear this confusion once and for all!
Spain first introduced chocolate in the 17th century. Cocoa beans are the main ingredient in chocolate that comes from the cocoa trees. It belongs to the Malvaceae or Mallow family. So, what actually it is? Is Chocolate a Fruit or Vegetable? Time to clear this confusion!
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What is Cocoa?
The cocoa trees produce cacao pods that are also known as the ‘Leguminous Fruit.’ These pods generally appear 3-4 years after plantation. They look green initially but become yellow and orange as they mature. These pods or fruits look like a ‘jackfruit’ on trunks, measuring 5-14 inches long and 3-6 inch wide. The pods contain the ‘Cocoa Seeds’ having a purple hue, which is the main ingredient in making cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
Extraction of Cocoa seeds from Trees
The harvesting of pods depends on climatic and regional conditions. Within the fibrous pulp of the pods, lie the seeds. The pulp contains about 20-50 seeds. They are then fermented under a blanket of banana leaves, where their purple hue changes into brown, melting the pulp away from the seeds. This fermentation process can take up to 8-12 days, depending on the pods and seeds.
After this process, these seeds are left to dry under sunlight, which may take around 3-5 days. Once the moisture of the seeds evaporates, they get ready for transportation.
After shipping to the chocolate manufacturing units, they roast and ground them with sugar and make packs as per their manufacturing process. It takes about 400 seeds to make one pound of chocolate. Each chocolate manufacturer has a unique recipe for fabricating chocolate with these seeds.
Is Chocolate a Fruit or Vegetable?
Since cocoa trees are famous as a fruit plant, and the pods as a leguminous fruit, we can conclude that Chocolate comes from a fruit. However, some sources consider it a vegetable also.
Nutritional Information of Cacao Seeds
- Cocoa has the right amount of B-complex vitamin, which helps in increasing the metabolism and working of the nervous system.
- It has phenolic acids, which work against inflammation and aging.
- Cocoa is rich in minerals like iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc, good for cardiovascular health and blood pressure.
- Last but not the least, it works as a mood elevator. That’s why dieticians advise us to have chocolate, whenever we feel anxious.